Two-hundred forty-three players on 2012 Opening Day 25-man rosters and inactive lists were born outside the 50 United States, it was announced today. This year's percentage of 28.4 marks the third highest of all-time and is up from 27.7 in both 2010 and 2011.
The 243 players born outside the United States came from a pool of 856 players (749 active 25-man roster players and 107 disabled or restricted Major League players) on April 4th rosters and represent 15 countries and territories outside the U.S. The 28.4 percent trails only 2005, when 29.2 percent (242/829) of Opening Day players were foreign-born, and 2007, when 246 players - 29.0 percent of all players - were born outside the U.S. In addition, this year's 243 foreign-born players rank as the second-most in history, trailing only the 2007 high of 246. Last season, 234 out of 846 players were foreign-born, totaling 27.7 percent.
The Dominican Republic again leads the Major Leagues with 95 players born outside the U.S, which is the second-most the nation has produced on Opening Day rosters, behind its 99 in 2007. Venezuela ranks second with 66 players, its highest total ever on Opening Day rosters. Canada ranks third with 15 players, followed by Japan (13); Cuba (11); Puerto Rico (11); Mexico (9); Panama (7); Curaçao (4); Australia (4); Nicaragua (3); Taiwan (2); Colombia (1); Italy (1); and South Korea (1). The three Nicaraguan-born players are the most on Opening Day rosters since 1995, when MLB began to release annual Opening Day data. Cuba matched its high of 11 set in 2002 and 2011, and Curaçao tied its high of four set in 2009. In addition, infielder Alex Liddi, the first Italian-born and developed player to play Major League Baseball after debuting last September, made the Seattle Mariners' Opening Day roster. Liddi, 23, is just the seventh Italian-born player in Major League history and the first since infielder Reno Bertoia in 1962. Liddi is the first alumnus of the MLB International European Academy, which was established in 2005, to make an Opening Day roster.
The Kansas City Royals, the hosts of the 2012 All-Star Game, have the most foreign-born players with a total of 13, followed by the Colorado Rockies and the New York Yankees, who each have 12. Three Clubs - the Milwaukee Brewers, the New York Mets and the Mariners - each have 11 foreign-born players. The Yankees have players from seven different countries and territories outside the United States: Canada, Curaçao, the Dominican Republic, Japan, Panama, Puerto Rico and Venezuela.